Scotland’s Robbie Simpson pushed through atrocious Alpine conditions to win the Jungfrau Marathon on Saturday (7 September).
The 28-year-old broke the tape in just under three hours (2.59.29), beating the Moroccan, Abdelhadi El Mouaziz, by just over two and a half minutes. The Commonwealth Games bronze medallist’s win at the 27th edition of the Swiss race is his third. Simpson took the title in both 2016 and 2018, and finished second in 2017.
More than 4000 runners from 64 countries took on the challenge, which packs 1700m of ascent into the standard marathon distance of 26.2 miles (42.195 km). Difficult conditions meant only 3700 managed to complete the race, with local reports calling it one of the ‘hardest, coldest, rainiest and slowest’ editions of the event ever.
Not only did it snow the day before the race, but fog settled on parts of the course – run from Interlaken to Kleine Scheidegg – hiding the spectacular Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau from view. Conditions in the upper parts of course were also tough, with mist descending on the steep tracks. Race officials even had to clear snow off the paths with brooms to allow the runners to pass.
With his title defence complete, Simpson is now deciding whether to take on a new challenge. Speaking to Aberdeen’s Evening Express before his victory on Saturday, Simpson revealed that running an ultra might be next for him – in particular, October's 78km Grand Trail des Templiers in Millau, France.
He said: “I’ve always wanted to try an ultra and as I’ve been doing a lot of long runs recently, I feel now is the time to give it a go. If I decide to take part in the ultra it will probably be my only one for at least a year as I’d like to build up for a spring marathon after it. I just want to try something different and see how it goes.”
Image: Jungfrau Marathon (Facebook)